Fix dings and scratches before selling my car?


#1

My 5-yr-old car is very good condition except for some dings and scratches on the surface. (Parking lot scars - why can’t other people control their car doors?)

Should I go to the expense of fixing these before selling my car?

A note:
I don’t know if I should sell private-party or not – I leave the US in 3 months, so if I were scammed or the purchase were later contested in any manner, I would not be in the country to resolve the issue. If the time crunch dictates that I sell to Carmax or the like, I’m afraid that I would lose money on the repairs…

Help? Thanks!


#2

You probably would, even if you sold it private party. It can cost $500 to repair a single door ding, depending on what the body shop has to do to it.


#3

My understanding is that it usually doesn’t pay to fix things like this, especially if you’re trading it in or selling it to a dealer. If you did decide to fix anything, I’d only go with whatever a paintless dent repair place can do easily.


#4

I would just have the car cleaned inside and out. As for selling it, get prices from Carmax, etc, compare them to what you might get private party.


#5

Even with little dings and marks, a good wash and wax will make it look a lot better.

IMO, it’s better not to try and hide too much from a buyer. Let them see that it’s not perfect. It IS 5 years old…it’s not like you’re advertising it as new and perfect…right?


#6

If you are selling it as a private party: wash it. Clay bar it. Wax it. If it has small door dings, find a paint-less dent repair shop. Don’t spend more than $100. Find a detail shop if you don’t want to DIY. Other than that, sell it as is.


#7

Not sure what the body looks like. Sometimes it can pay off to fix dents on a premium vehicle. You don’t mention if this is Hyundai or a high end car.

On selling the vehicle do the transaction at the bank of your buyer. That way you can verify funds, have a witness if they are willing to provide and do it in a safe manner. Make sure to sell it as-is. DO NOT ACCEPT A PERSONAL CHECK.


#8

And I wouldn’t even accept a cashier’s check, except at the bank it’s drawn on. Scammers are unbelievably good these days.


#9

The only time I would repair them is on a high end car. If this is a regular consumer car then not worth it, you won’t recoup 50% of the money you put in.


#10

One big problem is that you likely need the car until you leave. If so, you will be limited to selling to used car dealers, like CarMax. A private buyer wil want the car immediately and will probably not be willing to take the risk of you driving for a few months after they agree to buy the car. On the plus side, we had a van that CarMax offered us a great price on; we took it. If it is low mileage, nearly new, and in great shape, get quotes from new car dealers. If it’s a Toyota, a Toyota dealer will offer abetter price for it than if you try to sell a Ford to a Toyota dealer.


#11

People expect used cars to be imperfect. I would have it detailed if you can’t do it yourself. A really clean car is a must.


#12

I have had very good luck at minimal prices at the paintless dent repair places, a small investment at one of them for the bigger things could certainly pay off.


#13

I will only add that this stuff(Meguiars Scratch X) does miracles for scratches in my experience:

http://www.meguiarsdirect.com/detail/MEG+G10307 it is available at auto parts and most retailers. They advertise if it does not work you need body work.


#14

I would investigate fixing the dings and sell the car privately. As for the dings, find a body shop the specializes in “paintless dent removal”. These systems work pretty well, are less expensive (repainting adds a lot of work and money to a body job), and when the car is polished up all the paint matches. A couple of hundred dollars will be recouped in a higher selling price.

Used cars are at a premium now, so you should be able to get a good price selling it yourself. The deals don’t go bad, as long as you get cash (or equivalent) when you sign over the title to the car. A private seller provides no warranty, so the buyer is on their own and most buyers know this is the case. Don’t wait until the last moment to sell the car. Sell it a month or so before your planned departure. You can rent a car or live without for a few weeks.


#15

My boss had a car with the front bumper cover torn off on corner, held on with duct tape, and about the same amount of dings as my car… a local mobile guy fixed his entire car for $230 and made it look like absolutely brand new… I have a 2001 Mustang BULLITT with 31k miles… Going to have him fix my car before I sell it…


#16

Okay , but why do we need to know this and this thread is 7 years old so I imagine the OP has already sold it.


#17

@VegasDude, welcome to the community. I look forward to more posts from you. I suggest that you check the date on the posts you reply to, though. This one is seven years old.


#18

Don’t sweat it, @VegasDude, it’s a quirk of this site; you can get fooled! I did it myself; in fact, my reply may have been on a more than 7-year-old thread.


#19

I don’t fix parking lot dings and minor scratches. I try to consider it from the perspective of a buyer.

If I were a potential buyer looking at a car and saw dings & scratches it wouldn’t bother me unless they were extensive.
If I see that a body panel has been repainted, I wonder how extensive the accident was. To me that’s a suggestion to look deeper… or perhaps even look elsewhere.